Change of scene as gun Aussies head to Methven

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Two of Australia's most successful drivers are about to go from the bright lights of Cambridge to the green green grass of Methven.

Chris Alford and Greg Sugars will be Team Australia in the ANZAC 1800+ Series at Mt Harding on Sunday and will go head to head with two hometown heroes in Ricky May and Maurice McKendry. Both have strong Mid Canterbury links, McKendry was born and raised there before moving north to Auckland while May is a local through and through.

Sugars heads south after being one of the star turns at Cambridge's huge Night of Champions on Friday, after Just Believe's impressive win in the $600,000 TAB Trot, a race where Alford ran third in with the Kiwi-owned Queen Elida.

The Anzac series will be held over six races, with the two "teams" accruing points depending on where they place.

"It should be a good day as long as the weather plays ball," says May.

It's also a good opportunity to renew some old friendships and rivalries.

"I know both of them well, I stayed at Chris' place over there - it must have been 25 years ago," says May, "both are top drivers, you don't get to 8000 (Chris Alford's career victories) for nothing."

The 18,000 concept is based on the total number of winners the quartet have had on both sides of the Tasman.

Last year the club ran "The Three Wise Men" promotion, with the only members of New Zealand's 3000 win club - May, McKendry and Tony Herlihy.

"They've got something in mind for next year too but I can't say anything about that," May laughs.

May's six drives in the series are :

Race 1 : Monkeycmonkeydoo
Race 5 : Barrytown
Race 7 : Opo
Race 8 : Tanganyika
Race 10 : Pure Courage
Race 11 : Grettymac

And his best chances?

He is very diplomatic.

"They look like big wide open fields don't they?"

While he struggles to find a stand-out there he reckons his best chances are early on in the day with Champagne Nen in Race 2, the Memory Funerals Ashburton Mobile Pace (12.06pm) and Biggles in Race 3, the Midlands Seed Ltd Pace (12.32pm).

Champagne Nen broke last start and ran on well for sixth for his good mate Laurence Hanrahan while Biggles followed up a second on debut with a fifth for trainer John Murdoch.

Win or lose, May is hoping for some good trans-Tasman chat and a fun day, hopefully in the sun.

"I'm really looking forward to it."


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